Archive for February, 2016

Terrorism & War – Looking Good says Colonel Steve

February 26, 2016

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Christopher Lee

27 February 2016. London.

The colonel from the Pentagon looked the part.  Cleaner cut than a saint, with more medal ribbons than a pantomime hero.  He landed in the UK this past week with a word perfect mission.

He had come to to every newspaper and broadcaster that the war on IS (he uses Daesh) is right on schedule and IS/Daesh is taking a beating. He says the US-led coalition is killing terrorists leaders most days. Their bases are taking big hits, the armoured vehicles are been wasted.

Colonel Steve Warren was here to tell us that Daesh was beginning to lose. “We see them in a defensive crouch” he told us. No journalist mentioned that a panther springs from a crouch.

The fact that IS is on a killing high hit and having nauseating fun using beheaded cadavers as road blocks is a side issue for the colonel with a message.  He says we’ve got it wrong.

Who sent the colonel?  Answer: the people who believe that too many media reports from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Libya are telling a different story.  They are undermining the reports, especially those relayed in Washington, that it is not long now before IS collapses.

About five or six months ago the same US sources were briefing British and French TV and newspaper hacks that ISIS was a second rate bunch of no-hopers that given political guts could be wiped out inside the Christian winter holiday.  The message is dulled. Hence the colonel’s visit. A regional scan shows why. From the Bosphorus to Tripoli via the Gulf there is a tragedy that just a few years back would not have got off the staring block.

The Turks are hitting the Kurds, the Kurds are hitting the Turks.  Sunni and Shia states and peoples are at war face to face or by proxy. The coalition is hymning the Syria ceasefire but the two main teams – IS and Bashar al-Assad are not signatories. IS does not care about a ceasefire.  Assad is bombing rebel backyards and is ready to go the extra 100 meters with I Told You So banners when the ceasefire crumbles. The Russians are happy to help them out.

Across the almost non-existent border in Iraq on Friday about 20 people were killed in a bombing of a Shia mosque (the government is Shia seeking revenge).  Who did it? Surely not IS who is on the run according to the colonel.  Yup.  The very same IS.  Ask the mourners at the Rasul al-Zam mosque.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah are training Houthi rebels to fight in Yemen and the Saudi are looking at target planning into Hezbollah.  Imagine the death toll.  Imagine the knock-on.  Meanwhile the Saudi bombing in Yemen appears as casual as cruelty can be in warfare.   Hitting civilian targets is good terrorist bombing.  It causes confusion and terror.

Before we leave that bit of the dusty world, two pipe bombs were found in Jerusalem at Herod’s Gate. Lots of shooting.  Lots of dying. Also Friday, a prediction that Gaza will be a death bed scene by 2020.  Next door in Egypt, President Sisi is telling his people, do not listen to others.  Just do as I say.

And in Libya, there is a meeting Monday to see if Libya may be split into three. The West recognises one group, detests and will fight the other while everyone will be hit by the third. It is a simple example of bloodbath created when the British, the French and the colonel’s employers go into something blazing saddles without guaranteeing the result they claim to be promising. Other examples? Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan with the dankness of Syrian dead joining the tragic tapestry of failure.

So best the colonel goes home. Best someone who writes the propaganda tours gets to understand that what we call the Middle East is seeking a new identity that is different from the one the West created for it in the 1920s. IS emerged because the Western-led coalition got it wrong.

And, let us hope and those who do these things, let them pray that the crouching IS not about to leap with another Paris.  When a well turned out colonel tells them they are losing, they may just have to prove they are not in the crudest manner.

 

 

 

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New Terrorism Threat to UK? Beware Snake-oil politicians

February 22, 2016

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EU Vote & Terrorism: Beware Cameron & Co selling snake-oil politics

The theatre of David Cameron’s assault on the EU is done. A UK referendum will be held on 23 June when the British will vote to stay in the EU or leave.

Mr Cameron’s people are looking for ways of guaranteeing a Yes Vote. So watch for a change of the electoral roll to include 16+ year-olds. Teenage voters will vote to stay in Europe.

If the government does not get its way then another referendum will be held to check that the people knew what they were saying. Corrupt? It is the way of these things.

Meanwhile the texture of the debate is immediately felt. Cameron is saying that anyone who votes No will be jeopardising national security. Terrorists will be aiming a strike on the UK after 23 June if we all vote to quit the EU. The Prime Minister is suggesting that by staying in the EU we are very much part of the Intelligence information supply line that helps UK counter terrorism. Downing Street says that pulling out of the EU will mean that many of the European agencies would not include the UK in that ring.

According to Cameron logic present non-EU states do not get security information and warnings. Rubbish. As for EU protection, ask the French.

Iain Duncan-Smith MP (who wants to quit) says that if we stay terrorists will be aiming a Paris-type strike on the UK after 23 June largely because it would be easier to get into the country. The fact that most radical action is home grown or home based bins that argument. Paris would have happened whatever French membership status of EU.

We imagine Mohammad al-Baghdadi sitting in Daesh council reviewing attack projections based on a referendum result in a country that has trumpeted a major airstrike operation on Daesh but has yet to have had much more than a car-load’s success in spite of using missiles that cost £300,000 a time. It is a bigger story than that and it defies scare tactics from two leading and supposedly trusted members of government.

Both the Cameron and Duncan-Smith camps are blatantly playing on fears. Worse, it takes only a couple of seconds to work out that they are unconvincing. Therefore both Cameron and Duncan-Smith are insulting the intelligence of the electorate. The terrorist threat is real enough. The agencies in most countries are aware of information exchange. The UK in or out of the EU is the second strongest member of NATO and would continue to be even outside the EU and therefore wired into every country with an A1 Intelligence Analysis System.

The vote on 23 June is important enough and the counter-terrorist debate sensitive to the extreme without the people trusted as leaders copying the Trump line in political rhetoric.

Ironically, if there is a Cameron plan to pack the voting by including 16+ year-old teenagers then he should be reminded by his carpet bagging aides that those same young people are not tired out voters. They have sharp brains. They can smell political snake-oil salesman a mile off.

Cameron’s plan to call out the 16 year-olds to vote for him on 23 June?

February 21, 2016

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Christopher Lee

21st February 20016

Westminster

The theatre of David Cameron’s assault on the EU is done. A UK referendum will be held on 23 June when the British people will vote to stay in the EU or leave.

Mr Cameron’s people are looking for ways of guaranteeing a Yes Vote. So watch for a change of the electoral roll to include 16+ year-olds.  Teenage voters, say the focus groups will vote to stay in Europe.

If the government does not get its way then another referendum will be held to check that the people knew what they were saying. Corrupt? Not quite.  It is the way of these things.

Meanwhile the moral quality of our leaders is displayed today.  Cameron is telling anyone who votes No to Europe will be jeopardising national security.  Terrorists will be aiming at strike on the UK after 23 June if we all vote to go.  Iain Duncan-Smith (who wants to quit) says that if we stay terrorists will be aiming a strike on the UK after 23 June.

I can imagine Mohammad al-Baghdadi sitting in Daesh council deciding terrorism strike policy based on a referendum in a country that has trumpeted a major airstrike operation on Daesh but has yet to have had much more than a car-load’s success in spite of using missiles that cost £300,000 a time.

From our leaders we would hope for less insulting rubbish. But when a nation hopes it means that its leaders are pretty low grade ore.  That is what we now see.

 

 

 

Is Putin Committing War Crimes?

February 15, 2016

 

 

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15th February 2016

London

You cannot fix Syria by military means.  That’s what we’ve heard from Western diplomats and politicians for five years. The last year President Putin sent in his bombers. President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron repeated the mantra.  You cannot do it with bombs.

“Just watch me,” said Putin.

He was reminding the Obama-Cameron axis that they had done more hand-ringing than a new widow but had fixed nothing with their tactics – backing useless rebels and thanks to pressure from $contract rich Saudi Arabia failing to back the two states that could take on ISIS, Iran and Syria.

Putin went in firstly because he could see that Syria needed nothing more than back up to beat up on the rebels.  True, or so the corridor Russians agree, he knew he was about to bomb places like Aleppo back to the stone age, but so what?  That is the Russian way.  The Soviet Union and capitalist driven Russia have always done it this way.

Diplomacy?  Fine.  Go along with it. Even suggest 1 March cease fire. In the meantime bomb anyone who thinks Russia is going soft.  When there is an agreement to move in aid Russia is not tactically stupid.  If you move in aid, rebel groups get a breather and move in more weapons.  So just keep bombing.

Putin wants the old days of flotillas Kashins and Krivaks in command of the Eastern Mediterranean.  He would like a submarine loitering anchorage off Hammamet. He wants his bit of the Mediterranean back. It is not an East Ukraine-like  power grab. He simply says he is hand enough of being the guy they are condescending about or shot at when he arrives at G-something phot0-shoots.  Look at his body language when has to get on the end of conference picture.  He is not urbane.  He is Putin, ex-KGB thug in a suit that does not fit his gym-built frame.

All that is understandable and the West has never grasped it and couldn’t do much about it anyway. The West has no power other than to set up yet another Geneva-Vienna meeting to which the main players do not go.

But there is anther question to be asked: has Putin’s bombing operation been so murderous that it is more than a conventional raiding.  Putin is fighting on invitation of the legitimately elected leader of a country threatened by rebellion.  That may get right up the frocks of a lot of anti-Assadists but most international constitutional lawyers would albeit reluctant have to nod that through.

The question mark is the tactic of terror bombing.  Putin’s air force has the hell-fire signature of the Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu written all over it. Civilian communities, hospitals including emergency war surgeries are being bombed repeatedly.

One UN report says the Russians are using un-guiding weapons. They are dropped, they kill and that is the purpose. Death top rebels armed to the teeth by the Western led coalition? Yes.  But also women and children.  UN figures show that more than 50 recorded dead from these raids were under 18.

So maybe the UN should start labelling statistics like this with War Crimes tags.  A waste of time.  That could be the case.  But so far Putin has justified every raid.  Western Intelligence has squadron names and commanders. Maybe, just maybe they do not want the War Crimes indictment.  Putin? Just maybe.  But just watch him.

 

 

 

North Korea’s nuclear target: Hiroshima?

February 7, 2016

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6 February 2016, London

The North Koreans have done what the Dear Leader Kim Jong-un said they were going to do; they have launched another rocket claiming that it was putting a satellite into space.

The Americans have not done what they said they were going to do. Reprisals.

The Japanese have not done what they said they were going to do: shoot it down if they feel threatened. They feel threatened.

Back in 1957, the Soviet Union space department launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik 1.  That was the start of the Cold War threat called intercontinental nuclear warfare and it lead to the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. Why? Because you cannot put a satellite into space unless you have built a rocket capable of taking the satellite there – into space.  Once you have built that rocket it gets a second name: missile.

The same rocket/missile is what it takes to put a re-entry vehicle into space that comes back into the atmosphere to hit a target on earth.

That is the system the British and American use in their Trident missiles (the US has also 450 Minuteman III)).  It is the same used by the Russians in their 13 types of ICBMs (Ballistic missiles) including Scarp, Satan, Tool, Stingray, Skiff and Bulava (these are the NATO names for the Russian missiles). China is in there too with Dong Feng, the Israelis with Jericho III, Pakistan Taimur and India is developing Agni VI.

Kim Jong-un thinks that is a good club to join.  Every one respects its members.

The rocket firing from North Korea on Sunday last does not change the strategic balance in Asia or anywhere else.  However we should reasonably suspect that the Dear Leader is trying to join the ICBM club.

Kim Jong-un would then expect the other nuclear club members to take him seriously.  Show some respect is the way he sees it. No one messes with a man who has a long range rocket that he now calls a missile especially if he is developing a fission and after that a nuclear fusion warhead.

Kim Jong-Ng would like respect.  Read North Korean statements on bi-lateral talks with almost anyone especially the US.  Somewhere in each statement there is a veiled or upfront demand for respect.  That is not the clue to dealing with the Dear Leader but it is something we have to take on board if we are going to get to Key Stage 2 with him.

Instead the United Nations is stumbling about trying to fix a lot of sanctions that will bring Kim Jung-un to heel. Sanctions? He self-imposes.  The North Koreans have more self-inflicted sanctions than the Sicarii rebels of first century Masada.

So where are we with the North Korean leader?

He has a crude nuclear capability.  His scientists tell him that he has better than that – a fusion bomb. There is evidence to suggest they are telling him what he wants to hear. They are close, but no cigar. But soon it will happen.

His rocket engineers are more or less there.  They need enhanced stage propulsion and then the capability of remote command for re-entry.

But then what? What would he do with it? First he has capability that cannot be ignored. A place at arms control talks?  Kim Jong-un does not go to arms control talks nor does he need to. Who needs arms control when you have just arrived on the block?

The Future Intentions (for that read Nightmares) Intelligence Analysts outside Washington DC have a recurring and increasingly mind-cramping scenario in wargaming. In time of amazing regional tension, the Dear Leader will order nuclear release on two targets. Neither will be South Korean nor American bases.

The gamers say the targets would be: Hiroshima on Day One and Nagasaki on Day Two.  Respect? Then what do the UN Sanctions Planners do?